Bristol-based start-up LettUs Grow has been selected from over 800 applications to be in the final for Postcode Lottery Green Challenge, an international sustainable entrepreneurship competition.
By making it to the final, LettUs Grow has won at least €100,000, and co-founder Charlie Guy will pitch against four others infront of a panel of experts to win the grand prize of €500,000 to develop the business.
One third of the global carbon emissions can be traced back to our food production processes. As a result of the increasing global population, emissions are increasing even further and farmland is becoming scarce. Vertical urban farming offers a solution. This is a type of agriculture where stacked cultivation layers are used in factory halls or empty office buildings. By making use of vertical space, the yield per square metre is higher than with traditional agriculture.
LettUs Grow has developed a unique growing method for this type of cultivation. Contrary to methods where crops are grown in soil or water containers, LettUs Grow lets the roots hang in a dense, nutritious mist. This results in a better harvest, and significantly less water and energy consumption. Also, by growing the crops closer to the consumer, the carbon emissions caused by transport decrease as well.
Charles Guy and two of his friends at university, Jack Farmer and Ben Crowther, initially came up with the idea for LettUs Grow when they found out that 45% of salad products are wasted. Their plan was to make a product which would allow people to grow their own salad from their kitchen.
A global contest, LettUs Grow will be up against Reverse Resources from Estonia, Algiknit from the USA, and The Great Bubble Barrier and Aqua Battery from the Netherlands.
Last year, the Rwandan start-up EarthEnable won the €500,000 first prize with their sustainable alternative to cement.
The finals will be held at the Gashouder venue in Amsterdam on 13th September 2018 and can be watched via livestream at www.greenchallenge.info.